|Big Island sunset|
My first commercial flight was in 1973. Starting in 1978, I flew regularly for business and enjoyed champagne flights to Reno and Las Vegas. I’ve also done my share of road trips, cruises, and recreational travel. I was known for carrying less luggage than all my colleagues - including the male road warriors. Men can use some of these tips too. Here’s what I’ve learned about packing.
Packing methods are determined by the mode and purpose of travel. I do not pack the same for all, but I always plan what I’m taking ahead of time. I start piling items in a designated area a week before I leave. I add to the pile until two or three days before departure. I then edit my stack, add forgotten items, and pack, leaving room for those last minute cosmetic and snack items. I always sit on my bag to zip it, you pack lots of air in there!
Packing for an overnight trip is simple; expand to an overhead size bag plus a slimmer laptop bag for more than one night away. For an overnight, use a laptop roller bag with a built-in overnighter section. It fits in the overhead but not under the seat; carry a tote. Black is the wardrobe color. Take a black jacket or cardigan, a pair of pants and a skirt, and two or three tops. A quick change is nice if dinner’s on the agenda. Wear one combo, the other carefully hang on one hanger, plastic bagged, folded and inserted in the overnight section. Wear one designated pair of shoes, sometimes squeeze in another pair, and if you share my distaste of hotel room floors, include a pair of flip flops. Undies, nightie, and accessories are stuffed either in the tote or overnighter. To avoid checking luggage, never carry hotel-provided amenities; hotel shampoo won’t kill your hair in one use! Use the smallest containers that fit in that quart sized baggie. Heavier vinyl bags with a zippers are available. Only carry hair tool(s) you absolutely need.
Business with recreational travel
Staying at a private residence? Check your luggage so you can carry all your hair products, sundries, casual clothes and shoes. Use a bag that fits in the overhead but check it which frees you to add a shopping bag if needed. Carry an expanding tote bag. Packing casual clothes is different. Take whole outfits – from tanks and shorts to tops and bottoms – that go together and roll them up together. Again, use small cosmetic containers and toss them when emptied, freeing up space for shopping! Socks, belts, and assorted other items go into your shoes. Plan ahead by buying clothes that travel well, no ironing time needed.
|Machu Picchu, Peru|
If you like to dress for dinner every night use the Pullman-size bag which fits dresses, excursion wear, accessories, snorkel gear, hiking shoes, undies, nightie, a large makeup kit, (I bought a big vinyl case in which two smaller cases fit in to carry all hair and skin care items), hair tools, rain gear, and eight pair of shoes. And of course, carry the expandable tote bag which frees you up to acquire treasures. The dresses are on hangers in a wardrobe case or plastic, everything else is rolled. Extra tops, exercise clothes, and swim suits can be rolled and tucked into corners and spaces.
Given the lack of space, if you’re not booking a sleeper, use a backpack. My niece and her hub have done Europe using trains and carrying only BIG backpacks with light frames and padded shoulder and waist straps. Sleepers don’t have much room so the softer bags are much better than trying to stash or stack framed, wheeled bags into corners. Roll and tuck those clothes.
Road trip and camping packing is about the same unless it includes air travel which complicates things.
Use lightweight, carryon and gear-type bags that can be smushed into a vehicle. If you have formal wear, hang it in plastic and place in back seat hanger clip or lay flat on top of luggage. Separate shoes into a tote or duffle, clothes rolled into another. Separate the rest of the gear, hiking and snorkeling for example, in separate bags so it’s all together; just grab that particular bag and not have to shuffle about looking for specific items. Use a hanging camping type makeup case. Whether you are staying at a hotel, residence or tent, it can be hung from a towel rack or tree. Again, small containers for personal care products.
Combo trips – air and road
These are a challenge. I recommend you check luggage to include everything you may need and follow the previous recommendations. Two things I add – a collapsible cooler and smaller tote bag for day trips.
Got suggestions? Let’s hear ‘em!